- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) - The state’s official sailing vessel is getting a sprucing up.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation says a combination of private and public money will be used to rehabilitate and restore the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey, currently berthed in New Bedford.

The vessel was launched in 1894 in Essex. It was purchased in 1926 by Arctic explorer Robert Bartlett, and once reached within 600 miles of the North Pole.

It later carried immigrants from the Cape Verde Islands to the United States. In 1990, it was designated a national historic landmark and became an educational vessel.

The $6 million restoration - including $2.5 million from an environmental bond bill - will be done in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Officials say the vessel will return to New Bedford after the work is completed.

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